Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Portobello Mushroom and Vegetarian Welsh Haggis Lasagne

Its been a stinky day at work, rain...rain and more rain.  After work, especially when I finish a tad early - I usually find my way to my parents and slump on their sofa in front of their fire, not today.  I got the bus to my home and jumped pretty much straight away into my pyjamas and the hot water bottle was filled too, oh mustn't forget the coffee. 

So while I am sitting here, waiting for D to come home.  I thought I'd post one of the first recipes from my Burns Night Menu  - a Vegetarian Haggis Lasagne.  Its been a while since I made and more to the point eaten lasagne, so what a great opportunity to create one to showcase my home-made vegetarian haggis with a Welsh twist.

I know nowadays, the Internet is filled with lots of traditional haggis and vegetarian haggis based recipes from the likes of McSween the biggest haggis producers in Scotland, as well as Scottish food writers: Sue Lawrence, but for me I owe my further enjoyment of vegetarian haggis to Johanna.  I remember only five - six year ago when I lived in Scotland, you just couldn't find a good vegetarian haggis based recipes on the internet and when you did, how to incorporate it in other recipes.  The one place on the Internet where I did find some inspiration was Johanna's blog Green Gourmet Giraffe  (a year or so before I began my own blog) I even remember one of the Scottish national papers there, acknowledging her website as a source of haggis recipe inspiration.  Since discovering Johanna's blog, we have become good blogger friends and she has continued to create many other vegetarian haggis delights - such as haggis,neeps and tatties pasties, and haggis nachos which I think I may have to have later this week as I still have some haggis to use up.

Anyway, my Welsh Haggis Lasagne is very earthy looking dish, almost autumnal - except its the winter season here.  For the Welsh twist, I've added some leeks in place of the onion.  I've also added some meaty Portobello mushrooms to my haggis, this was mainly to give it more texture for the guests that were more used to eating meat, so its an optional extra.   It was enjoyed by everybody who had it, including me.  I liked the differential texture of the haggis, the oozyness of the bechamel cream and the chewy baked bits of the lasagne sheets and the just burnt crisp cheese.  
To my knowledge, Welsh faggots are referred to as Welsh Haggis. Faggots were traditionally made with the innards of pigs. The pate like mixture is then wrapped in the lacy casing of the animals caul and oven roasted slowly, just like Scottish Haggis.  there may be some truth in this as The Scotsman also make reference to haggis being popular in the Welsh Valleys of Wales, but they still credit the Scots for the haggis jokingly writing that a Scottish haggis escaping to Wales in 1690, hence its popularity in Wales. 

You may be interested to note that in the few years there has been some questions as to the origins of the Haggis being English - to read more follow this link.  Also, to view some of my past vegetarian and vegan haggis based recipes, follow this link
Vegan tower of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties
Haggis Burgers
Mushroom Haggis Pakoras/Bhajis 
Vegan Haggis Bon Bons or Bites
Clapshot Haggis Tikkia
Haggis Roti
Haggis Samosa

Ingredients for the Veg(etari)an Welsh Haggis
50g pinhead oatmeal (soaked for a few hours)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large leek, sliced finely
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 tablespoon Tamari
100g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
100g puy lentils, cooked from scratch
100g of cooked kidney beans and roughly chopped
1 tin of laverbread or a couple of tablespoons
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
Ingredients for the Bechamel sauce120g butter
80g plain flour
1 litre milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
About 300 – 350g fresh lasagne sheets
100g grated Welsh cheddar cheese
Optional garnish, chopped spring onions
To make the vegetarian Welsh haggis:
Saute the leeks, garlic and seasoning in the oil until soft. Add the lentils and carrot and simmer on low heat until the lentils are soft, stirring to prevent sticking. The moisture content of the soaked lentils and carrot should be sufficient, but if not add a very small amount of water. Add the mushroom and allow to soften before adding the kidney beans and laverbread. Season with black pepper to taste. Finally add the drained and rinsed oatmeal and mix well.
To make the béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, then begin adding the milk. It will be absorbed immediately so work quickly whisking with one hand while pouring in the milk with the other. When the sauce seems to be smooth and not too stiff add seasoning and grating of nutmeg and continue cooking, mixing all the time. It should be a very thick and smooth sauce.
Assembling the lasagne
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a 8 x 12 inch baking dish; or 6 individual ovenproof dishes. Drizzle some bechamel sauce over the bottom of the dish to cover it thinly. Place two or three depending on the size of your lasagne sheets, so that they are slightly overlapping on top. Dollop a thin layer of haggis and a some portobello mushroom slices over that, spreading it with the back of the ladle. Add about two ladlefuls of the bechamel. Add another layer of lasagne sheets, then haggis, portobello mushroom slices and bechamel as before, and then repeat the layers one more time. You should have about some Welsh haggis left over and a good amount of bechamel left. Make a final layer of lasagne sheets and cover with all the remaining bechamel. Dollop the remaining haggis here and there. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for about 30 minutes, or until it is bubbling and golden on top.  Sprinkle with optional spring onions. Eat and enjoy!


  1. I have to admit, I've never tasted real haggis (or a vegetarian version) or cooked with it, but I'm loving this vegetarian version. And I had no idea haggis could be used in such a variety of dishes! This lasagne looks amazing yet wonderfully healthful. Thanks so much for sharing...

    1. Not many meat eaters dare try the real haggis, so you are not missing much there. I'd recommend the veggie version as it is often applauded by those who know real haggis. I am glad you like this dish.

  2. This sounds delicious, I am inspired and I am going to give it a go. Thanks Shaheen. x

    1. Thanks Kath, let me know how you get on. I will linky up if you do showcase it on your blog.

  3. It was delicious, we ate it before I could take a photograph though so it won't be on the blog. Mr OC really liked it so I think it might become a regular feature.

    1. Oh my goodness Kath, that was quick. I didn't think you'd make it so soon - but so glad you did and Mr OC enjoyed it too - YIPEE, I am so pleased.

  4. Blush - what kind comments about my haggis-love! (I never knew it was picked up by the scottish papers either). I have to say that your blog is one of the best places I know for innovative haggis recipes - so am pleased to be able to return the favour. I think haggis is a great dish to cook with - was thinking of haggis lasagne last week but it was hot and I was busy so we had haggis and chips and then haggis nachos - it is the nachos that we really love having but must try some other haggis lasagne some time - I think I would love it with a tomato sauce as I often serve haggis with tomato sauce

    1. You are sooooo welcome Johanna,
      Oh yes, I remember reading about your blog in one of the Scots papers, I really can't remember which one it was - possible The Scotsman.

      And thank you so much for the compliment in return - you do make me blush too. I have had Haggis and Mozzerella Panini on the menu all week, only sold a couple, so this weekend, I am hoping to eat up the last of the haggis with nachos this w/e.


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